Dear LOTTA NILSSON,
Windfarms - Witnesses for the Prosecution
Wind Turbine Disaster
Having read your e-mail letters headed 'Sad Story at Christmas' and 'Wind Turbine Disaster in Sweden' I felt I must write to you and copy this e-mail to other interested parties.
My family had to endure years of exposure to Low Frequency Noise and we can relate, in detail, to your experience.
We know exactly what you mean when you wrote: "To tell you how I react to these sounds is difficult. Tension, stomach-ache, blood pressure, aggression etc. All the components of a "flight reaction". I might be going out in the evening, believing that the weather was OK but if I then discovered that I was exposed to the noise, I would scream and rush indoors. When the sound continued for more than a week due to the wind I was literally broken. I have never fainted but felt like it several times."
You have our greatest sympathy and our congratulations on an excellent explanation of the frustration, and the suffering, caused by prolonged expose to Low Frequency Noise (LFN).
Please see both the LARSEN story and NILSSON story copied below.
I look forward to your comments.
David Larsen, SSAS, Pr Eng, MSAIEE, SAAI
Saturday, 30 October, 2004
PS: Some of the people exposed to LFN become so debilitated by the noise that they could no longer keep up the struggle with their local authorities and had no option but to leave their homes and live elsewhere. Being now 'sensitised' to LFN they had great difficulty finding a quiet place to live. We trust that the World Health Organisation recommendations regarding LFN will soon be incorporated into South African Environmental legislation.
Fax : +27-11-316-3256
Post: Private Bag X2352 Wingate Park, 0153, South Africa.
David Larsen wrote:
Thank you for the interest in our local hum problem and for the valued information about the nature of the HUM in your area.
My guess is that you have one, or more, distant sources of low frequency noise within a few miles of your homes and that, under certain atmospheric condition the noise is 'beating' with itself or 'beating' with local transformer hum inside or just outside your home. The result is a debilitating THROBBING SOUND. It is like having one tube in a multitude light fitting flickering. If the tube stays on, or off, it is not a problem but if the tube flickers it becomes obvious and soon becomes intolerable.
For more on the above please take a look at my private webpage at URL: http://home.intekom.com/salbu/a_GVM/GVM_Index.html
SUMMARY of our APOLLO Webpage.
It took us some time to find / realize that the source of THROBBING SOUND we heard in our home at night was the massive APOLLO Transformer Station located about a kilometre from our home. Outdoors the THROBBING SOUND is masked by other sounds but indoors it is just above the threshold of hearing and 'gets into our heads' and keeps on waking us up at night. Wax ear plugs do not help. We have become sensitised to this debilitating THROBBING SOUND. Some of our guests take days, or even weeks, before they can hear the THROBBING SOUND. A few can hear it right away. The sound can easily be confused with the sound of an idling diesel engine.
The noise occurs at night due to the strong atmospheric inversion layer we have in this area.
ESKOM, the owner of APOLLO, have undertaken to do something about the
problem BUT we have had to live with this debilitating noise for many years.
Old age is coming to our rescue - see curves that show elderly people have
a diminished reaction to LF noise.
There are three causes for our HUM. I have listed them in order of magnitude.
1) It is the low frequency noise from the 48 very large fans at APOLLO. This is the main cause of the THROBBING SOUND.
2) It is the hum from the transformers at APOLLO arriving at our home with differential propagation delays resulting in a THROBBING SOUND.
3) It is the hum from APOLLO transformers 'beating' against hum from
transformers in and around our home resulting in a THROBBING SOUND.
Please keep in touch.
APOLLO "DC" COOLING FAN NOISE:
Note: "We have come to the conclusion that it is the random beat
note (circa 4 Hz per second) - arising out of the multiple (circa 33 Hz)
tones generated by the battery of large cooling fans - that is causing
us distress and that the impact of this noise cannot be simply defined
by the level of the tones and/or the spectral balance of the noise. It
is the long term nighttime exposure to this incessant "throbbing sound",
with an irregular beat, that has caused us to become "sensitised" to this
VERY debilitating, low level, "modulated" VLF noise. This 'debilitating'
noise cannot be compared to traffic noise from a distant Freeway. Distant
Freeway noise is more like the sound of the sea.
From: LOTTA NILSSON <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 10:39 AM
Subject: wind turbine disaster in Sweden - my thoughts
Windfarms - Witnesses for the Prosecution
LOTTA NILSSON (1)
A Sad Story at Christmas
In 1997 I bought a house in the countryside on the west coast of Sweden. I was so happy and relieved. I have been a single mother for twenty years and my daughter and I have three horses. At last our dream was coming true - we were going to have our own stable and pastures. The house was not modern. We did noteven have water in the house when I first started the renovation.
In 1998, in November, our dreams were dashed. A farmer, not living inthe neighbourhood but owning land there, built a wind turbine 650 meters from our house. The wind turbine is an Enercon E-40 65 meters high.
Both my neighbour and I realised after a few weeks that this was going to change our lives. I think it took about one month and then we became very annoyed and disturbed by the horrible noise from the wind turbine. The first weeks, I think we were unsure of the reason for the awful noise. Then we were thinking that it would stop, or that someone would discover that there was something wrong with this wind turbine. We were cruelly mistaken. The first "service" was made by Enercon in May 1999. They said they had found a very rare fault with the rotor blade that had made the sound level "much higher than expected". This was not an acceptable excuse for taking so long to investigate the matter.
And the worst part, we did not experience any change at all after the service. If anything, things had got worse.
The strange thing was that they claimed to have been at the wind turbine on the very same day that the "health and environmental staff" was measuring the level of 48 dBA 400 meters from the turbine. I was there.
Before I go on I just want to tell you that I am an ordinary person. I have a daughter and a little grand daughter.
I am a chemist now working as a teacher in chemistry and biology (and environmental studies) at a school for 16 - 19 year-olds, preparing them for university. I like my work and was fully content with my life, before the"robbery". I feel robbed of everything today - the happiness, the peace, my home, my family, economy and pride.
No one told me when I bought the house that the community had already set up a plan for a wind turbine in this area.In this small community, ruled by farmers and the "environmental" party together with the "Right" the plan was to install 90 wind turbines. In four years 50 of them have been erected. The distance between houses and wind turbines are as little as 290 meters.
There is no mercy for people crying for help. I am not alone. In our community we are 40 active families and about 200 families affected by these turbines. Many of those have been complaining about the unbearable noise disturbance and the shadows that drives them "mad". The red lights flashing 3 times a second is also horrible. The visual effect is making you stressed and there are no longer any open views surrounding our community as all are blocked by huge wind turbines with their rotating blades which makes it impossible to enjoy the scenery.
Nevertheless, when we first started complaining we thought that we would be believed and treated with respect.
You can imagine the feeling you develop when you understand that those from the Health and Environmental Center for the community:-
1. Do not believe that the turbines are making noise or/
2. They do know but they don't care. They answer "thats something you have to put up with"
or "where do you suggest we get our energy from?"
3. You find out that they don't want to measure.
4. You find out that they can't measure and therefore can't control
It is hard to explain to someone outside our world what it feels like. I can only tell you that it is an extremely unpleasant sensation. You are stressed by the noise or shadows, some people can't go out or cannot even escape indoors. You also get stressed and angry because of the attitudes you meet and the unbelievable fact that no one can or will control the noise and frequency emissions.
What happens is that as one person gives up another fights. People are becoming really ill. One woman was totally broken down when I met her one year ago. She did not go out or get up from the couch. Only crying. She was beaten by the authorities and the disturbances.
If you fight you almost always start asking questions. You seek for help everywhere. And I found out so many strange things about energy, economy and politics......
But the hardest thing of all is to find out that our health, economy and environment is destroyed and the only reason for this is for someone to make money. It has nothing to do with the environment or energy. So many people has been made believe this that it almost impossible to make them understand and accept the true facts.
Since the community I lived in is a farming area, another problem is the conflicts the wind turbine creates among former friends and neighbours. People are afraid to tell how it really is. I try to persuade them by saying it is your neighbour who does not care about you and is prepared to spoil your life by putting up a wind turbine. You have the right to protect yourself from violence and threats to your health. This is a kind of abuse. To stay quiet is only helping the companies to continue to persuade other farmers to let their land or become shareholders and so more families will be destroyed. It is very important that we stick together. If only a FEW of the affected people have the courage to complain it makes it so easy for the developers to accuse them of being hysterical and to ignore their complaints. If we ALL dare to complain, it is much more difficult to use these arguments against us. We need EVERYONE to share the responsibility in order to change things.
In our community there are still many people who are "involved" with the exploiters and it is difficult for them to turn against them. But things are changing. Even some of the most frightened persons are now coming forward to tell the truth. They have to because they cannot put up with the disturbances any more. The argument the exploiters, farmers and politicians and wind companies (even some scientists) are using against us makes me furious. The first is that "you only get irritated at the noise if you do not like wind turbines". This is nonsense. Most of the people I know did not have any opinion on wind turbines at all or were even very positive to them before they became close neighbours to a wind turbine. Even Swedish scientists state that there is no connection with opinion and level of annoyance - it is only a matter of how sensitive you are to noise.The second argument is " the more involved you are yourself, the less likely it is that you will be disturbed". This is not true. I know several farmers in Sweden who have a wind turbine on their own land, either share holders or getting money for the land (500- 750 000 skr - about 36,000 to 54,000 - over 20 years) who deeply regret that they allowed it. If they had known how it would torture them they would never have said yes.
The third argument is "the more information you get the less disturbed you will be". My experience says that it is the opposite. The more information people get, the more certain they become that they do not want a wind turbine in their surroundings.
The last and fourth is " blame yourself, you are oversensitive". It is not your fault if you are sensitive. My guess is that not all but most people would react the same away if they were exposed to the same kind of disturbance.
Some politicians and people working at the community protect themselves by saying " it could be a highway, no one lives in complete safety ..."
This makes me angry. The sound of a highway cannot be compared to the noise from a wind turbine. The frequencies from a road are similar to the ones from the ocean according to a Swedish scientist. This probably explains why the human ear can acceptroad noise more easily.
I am only writing this down to make you aware of the arguments and to give you the courage to say NO.
Finally. For you who have not yet experienced what I have.
I had to leave my home in January 1999. I realised that I could not stay unless I was willing to become ill.
By the end of 1998 I had a high blood pressure and every time I was on my way home from work or getting up in the morning I was afraid, and I mean really afraid, that the wind would be "negative". In some directions of the wind, almost regardless of speed (more weather dependent) the intermittent "schvosch" sound is heard clearly 700 meters away. I am still dominated by a dread of "weather reports". Nowadays even though I am not living at home any more I avoid the report by looking away or turning off the TV. I am afraid to go to my own home to see my daughter and her family. It makes me angry that my freedom has been cut like this. That I cannot live in my own house, it is absurd.
Now we are threatened by a new wind turbine which will be placed 300 meters from my house.
I fight as very many other persons fight for their environment. The conditions we are forced to live under are inhuman and many of us will definitely get or already have problems with our health because of this writing and "fighting". I have been trying to sell the farm for 4 months. Without result. So now, although I can no longer bear to live in my home I still have to repay the loan, which means that I can only afford to rent a cheap room in the attic of a house - no shower, no kitchen. My daughter and her family still live in the house, but if the new wind turbine is built, they also fear that they will be forced to move.
To tell you how I react to these sounds is difficult. Tension, stomach-ache, blood pressure, aggression etc. All the components of a "flight reaction". I might be going out in the evening, believing that the weather was OK but if I then discovered that I was exposed to the noise, I would scream and rush indoors. When the sound continued for more than a week due to the wind I was literally broken. I have never fainted but felt like it several times.
I could also "feel" the noise before it started. I know this sounds strange. But I am a rational normal person and this is what I feel. Some frequencies emitted from wind turbines are of such a low frequency that you do not hear them but feel them as vibrations. If this is the explanation I don't know. The human being is by far the best instrument to detect allergens and to detect danger for itself. Sometimes the danger is not dangerous at all but it evokes the same reaction. Fear.
In Gotland (an island in Sweden) a farmer told me that he experienced the same thing. One morning he fainted in his yard, he could not cope with the sound. He was hospitalised for a month. Another family left their house just like me. When I called them, the wife started to cry when I mentioned "wind turbine" and after one minute we were both crying. We did not have to talk at all. It felt like if we were the only ones in the world understanding the problem fully. Just because people fear to talk about these things.
From this you will understand my main problem is the sound. Other families have a problem with sounds, reflections and shadows. Some have a very high tone in their house which makes it difficult to sleep and relax. Some houses act like a box of resonance to low frequency noise. They have a very low tone or vibrations in their houses. Painful. So please - let us help each other, stick together and refuse to suffer this intolerable abuse any longer. Because it has nothing to do with improving the environment. Wind turbines ruin our environment and the people living in the surroundings are paying with their health. Even if we had to choose between electricity and wind turbines, my answer would be that I will be fine without electricity. Now this is not the case. Wind turbines produce so little electricity that we can easily manage without it and the torture that these machines inflicton our community. Lets do that.
LOTTA NILSSON (2)
From: LOTTA NILSSON <mailto:email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 10:39 AM
Subject: wind turbine disaster in Sweden - my thoughts
I read Simon Jenkins article "The ill-wind blowing through energy policy" with great interest as I can tell people what living with wind turbines is really like. Before you read this make sure that you are not among those who think (which is very normal for people over 20 ) like this " do not disturb me with facts I have already made my mind up" . Many environmentally concerned people have a tendency to react very strangely to what I am about to say but no one can learn anything new with that attitude or start to believe a different truth than the one we are used to, even though it might be very wrong. I was like most people positive to wind turbines when it happened to me. The only one I had seen was about 15 m high and I now realise that I did not know anything at that time of energy or wind turbine produced electricity. It is simply not the kind of things you think about on a regular day basis, at least not if you have a family, work and maybe a house. You simply do not think about these things. Diapers, dog food, friends and dinner are much more frequent in your mind - and so it should be.
No one should be forced to go through what we are going through. I wish no one the hell we are living in ! Do not let them fool you just to make money on your home and neighbourhood like they did to ours. Wind turbines close to your home is nothing but torture. It is amazing how people in general - just passing them once in a while by car - claim to know so much about wind turbines. It all changes rapidly when they themselves are threatened by an exploration or finally despite protests become close neighbours. Protests do not often help - the democratic rules and ordinary laws do not apply to wind turbines. Strange ! Then they, like we, find out the hard way that the noise is unbearable for human beings and that the shadows from the rotating blades in your home and garden drives you and your children mad. Just to look at the wind turbines rotating stresses you and finally you cannot stay in your own home. In Sweden many people have left their homes, many more are planning to. Nobody is interested in buying my house unless I make a huge reduction in the price. I know that it is difficult to understand what we are going through - but please try before it is too late for us all !!
What surprises us most - we who have already lost our peace and homes - is the ignorance and arrogant attitude we meet with from authorities that should support us and control our environment but how they in fact protect the business instead. For years we have been trying to raise the issue and slowly things are changing. It is not as popular to be "for" wind turbines any more. More and more people realise that wind turbines do make a noise and create visual problems. Wind turbines are a threat to the environment - not a hope for the future. The Danish government did finally find out what we have been saying for long time and what an expert on economy and electricity distribution could have told them 20 years ago and thereby saved billions (5 000 000 /year one estimate) of Danish crowns for the tax payers and consumers in Denmark. The problem is that no one wanted to hear the truth. Politicians have a green attitude as long as it gives them votes and they rather choose to keep their number of votes high than take care of the state finance and a good energy and environmental politics.
The wind industry and more or less serious "sales agents" are instead of the real experts suddenly advisers for the government and in Sweden as well , walking " like the child of the house" in and out from the department of Industry and Energy. No good decisions can rest on this kind of advice and consultation. Wind turbines are too expensive and give such a small and unreliable contribution of electricity that it even threatens the distribution network stability in Denmark. One windfarm was disconnected before Christmas to keep the network stable.
It is hard to understand how anyone can sell out the landscape and the people who live in it in this way. It is an absurd world we are living when people plan to put up thousands and thousands of these horrible things - higher than ordinary 20 - 30 floor buildings with rotorblades the size of jumbo jet wings rotating in beautiful silent lansdcapes - in the name of environment. I must wake up from this nightmare. People have gone mad !! Anyone who wants to check my story are welcome to Laholm, Sweden and other places in Denmark and Sweden.
M. Sc Lotta Nilsson
Marbacksv. 17 Skottorp Laholm Sweden Tel: (00) 460-43021429 (South African dial code 0946-4-302-1429)